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The JFK Case: The Twelve Who Built the Oswald Legend (Part 10: Nightmare in Mexico City)

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Sylvia Duran has consistently said that she never saw Oswald again after the 27th .   If she is telling the truth, then the callers on the 28th were not Duran and Oswald.    The day after the assassination, Duran was seized by Mexican authorities and held incommunicado until CIA officials figured out how to handle her story.   A few days later, CIA covert action chief Richard Helms went so far as to write that "we do not want any Americans to confront Silvia Duran or be in contact with her" . [vi]    Helms did not want it to get out that Duran never met with Oswald on the 28th.   Until 1978, no American official ever asked Duran about this call.

Similarly, there was no effort to identify the Soviet officer that picked up the call from the Cuban consulate on the 28th.   Boris Tarasoff prided himself on knowing the voices of the Soviets who worked in the embassy compound.   Tarasoff believed that the Soviet officer was probably a man named Konstantinov.   The Soviets say that the switchboard was closed that day to the public.   A review of the transcript of the 28th reveals that this was the only call that was not made by friends or family of someone who worked at the station.  The calls for that day concerned social affairs like going on a picnic, grappling with the grippe, and taking care of the children and the chickens.

Goodpasture knew that the LIENVOY wiretap system could be penetrated by other spies 

Goodpasture, Scott and a few other insiders also knew that the LIENVOY wiretap system that had picked up the Cuban consulate call of the 28th might have been penetrated by spies.   The problem was that LIENVOY was run by the DFS, one of the most corrupt agencies in the Mexican government.    Goodpasture knew that LIENVOY was insecure . [vii]

A CIA memo -- almost certainly prepared by Goodpasture -- describes the section of DFS working with the CIA in Mexico City as a "hip-pocket group run out of the Mexican Ministry of Government. This Ministry (Gobernacion) was principally occupied with political investigations and the control of foreigners.  Its employees were cruel and corrupt". [viii]    

After Win Scott saw the photos of Oswald on TV the night of the assassination, he wrote HQ saying that he suggested to Mexican presidential candidate Gustavo Ortiz (LITEMPO-2) that Duran be arrested and held incommunicado until she provided all details on Oswald, as she was on the Sept. 28 transcript with Oswald in her office at the Cuban consulate.   Scott added that
"LITEMPO-2 can say DFS coverage revealed call to him if he needs to explain." [ix]   This is an indicator that DFS had its own set of tapes and transcripts from the Mexico City station, and was not forced to rely on CIA largesse.

So both the CIA and DFS had access to tapes from the Mexico City station -- and they weren't the only ones!   The FBI also had access to these tapes -- one story is that the FBI got their tapes from the DFS! [x]    So, now, three agencies had access to these tapes.

The FBI's Mexico City field office was considered to be a security problem by the CIA.   A key factor was a joint CIA-FBI operation in 1963 designed to convince Soviet military attache Valentin Bakulin to defect .   Both the CIA and the FBI were using double agents in this effort. [xi]   The aforementioned Bill Bright who had handled Oswald's file in the Soviet Union was part of this operation.  Win Scott's people concluded that the FBI Mexico City office had been penetrated by LAROB, an FBI double agent working on Bakulin.   After a meeting with another double agent on October 1, Bakulin was immediately placed under physical surveillance by the CIA.

Concern about this alleged penetration was the focus of discussion between CIA HQ and the Mexico City station from October 2 to October 5 . [xii]   On October 7 , twenty sets of reports about double agent LAROB were sent by the FBI Mexico City field office to the CIA's Mexico City station and Headquarters.  

The molehunt:   It looks like Goodpasture tried to smoke out a spy who was trying to penetrate CIA operations by pretending that the station believed that a photo of a KGB operative was really Oswald

Cuban covert action chief David Phillips left Mexico City for Washington and Miami right after the Duran-Oswald call was allegedly made on September 28.   It looks to me like he put his head together with Goodpasture as soon as he came back to Mexico City.

On October 8, after an unheard-of one week delay by the highly efficient Mexico City station, the Mexico City Soviet desk was finally given the go-ahead to prepare a memo to CIA HQ on the October 1 phone call from Lee Oswald.   CIA HQ now had a total heads-up as to what would be coming from Mexico City.   A molehunt designed to see who was trying to penetrate CIA operations by impersonating Oswald was about to begin.

Goodpasture got things started by referring to a Mystery Man photo for a memo sent out to HQ on October 8 .   The Soviet desk officer said that Goodpasture told her that the photo log portrayed a six-foot "Mystery Man" with an athletic build leaving the Soviet consulate on October 1 .   She figured that since he looked like an American, he might be Oswald.   Goodpasture admitted finding the photo, but refused to take responsibility to admit that she thought the Mystery Man might be Oswald, saying that she didn't remember who suggested it.

It was not unusual for the station chief Win Scott to press the officers to match a report of a phone call with a corresponding photo.   It's unusual, of course, for these two female Mexico City officers to disagree about such a fundamental issue involving Oswald.   It was also unusual for Goodpasture to refer to the exact date and time of a photo in a log created on October 2, while pretending that it was taken on October 1.  

Goodpasture was supposedly relying on a photo log that separated the dates of October 1 & October 2 with a full line of red percentage marks . She claimed many years later that this was her mistake.   She was ordered to review the dates immediately after the assassination and didn't catch the mistake.  In 1967, she was asked again and referred to "Log 145" when the actual photo and chronology for October 1 was in "Log 144". This is not the kind of mistake that an exceptional officer like Goodpasture would make, who routinely received the highest rating of "outstanding" in her fitness reports .   The staff of the House Select Committee on Assassinations reviewed this evidence in the 1970s along with her explanation , and concluded that Goodpasture's story was highly implausible.   Staffer Ed Lopez concluded that Goodpasture belonged in jail.

Much evidence indicates that CIA knew that the Mystery Man was a Soviet intelligence operative named Yuri Moskalev

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Bill Simpich is a civil rights attorney and an antiwar activist in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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